Myanmar junta rejects Rohingya genocide accusations

Bangkok, Mar 23 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military government rejected accusations of genocide by the United States in relation to the armed forces’ campaign against the Rohingya minority in 2016 and 2017.

In a statement released Wednesday in the official press, the Myanmar Foreign Ministry criticized US State Secretary Antony Blinken for calling the campaigns against the Rohingya genocide on Monday, opening the door to more sanctions against Myanmar.

The ministry said Myanmar is a signatory to the convention against genocide and the statutes of the International Court of Justice and has never committed “any genocidal action” against any national, racial or religious group.

“The story mentioned by the Secretary of State is far from reality and the references come from unreliable and unverifiable sources, as well as crude allegations,” said the Myanmar authorities, who called the statements as being “politically motivated” and interfering in the internal affairs of the country.

Blinken said more than 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar due to a military campaign, and more than 700,000 had to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

“I have determined that members of the Myanmar military junta committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in 2016 and 2017,” Blinken said from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The head of US diplomacy said the evidence is overwhelming, adding that the persecution was “widespread and systematic.”

Blinken also said many military leaders who led the campaign are the same ones who overthrew the democratically elected government in February 2021.

In Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee representatives welcomed the US statement, saying they hope it will bring those responsible to international justice and facilitate repatriation.

“We really appreciate it. We will ask the US to refer this matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) through the UN Security Council. It will be helpful for us if the US joins the effort at the ICC.” said Khin Maung, executive director of the Rohingya Camps Bangladesh Association.

Following the violent campaign in 2017, some 738,000 Rohingya came to Bangladesh seeking refuge. The United Nations described it as an example of ethnic cleansing and a possible genocide, crimes against humanity that are investigated by international courts.

Bangladesh has since welcomed more than 1 million Rohingya refugees in the largest refugee camps in the world in precarious conditions and with limited access to services such as education and health. EFE


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